Alexis Wattinne, Director, Finance and Treasury, Bonduelle
This month, Helen Sanders, Editor, talks to Alexis Wattinne, Director of Finance and Treasury at Bonduelle, a French family-run company that is the world leader in prepared vegetables, operating in over 100 countries, about his career and experiences in treasury.
How did you first get into treasury, and what attracted you to the profession?
I started my finance career as a trainee whilst at university, and although I knew I wanted to develop my financial experience, I had not identified a specific direction that I would take at that stage. For a new graduate, the opportunities that treasury offers are not necessarily clear beyond those of a general finance career. When I was considering my first job after graduation in 1994, I decided to qualify as an accountant, as I realised the importance of establishing the basics before pursuing a career in finance. I started working at Leroy Merlin (part of Adeo Group), a large family-owned home improvement company in France and it was here that I first came across treasury, and ultimately became treasurer for four years. When I joined, currency risk was a major issue, and helped to take the company through its Euro migration path.
How did your career progress to the role you hold now at Bonduelle?
By 2002, I had a well-established career at Leroy Merlin, but there was little upward mobility by that stage in my career, so from 2002-2007, I expanded my experience by working for a bank, again in treasury. The contrast between a corporate treasury and bank treasury was considerable, not least as the activities were quite different. For example, not only was treasury responsible for short term cash and FX, but I was also responsible for proprietary trading in instruments such as bonds, asset-backed securities and asset and liability management for the bank.